cover image Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility

Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility

Myriam Steinberg and Christache. Page Two, $24.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-989603-64-2

With directness and ample doses of humor and gratitude, Steinberg’s graphic debut charts her four-year effort to become a mother. Worn down by workaholism running a nonprofit arts festival, Steinberg approaches 40 with a nagging biological clock, which is depicted in cowboy boots and a ten-gallon hat (when she worries she may have missed her window, she scolds the clock, “You had one job!”). With no perfect life partner in sight, she decides that “Mr. Sperm Bank” will father her baby. She heads into her first intrauterine insemination (IUI) with a mix of excitement and nerves. Seven IUIs, three rounds of in vitro fertilization, and three miscarriages later, her outlook is less rosy: “I wasn’t a mean, jealous, vengeful, or bitter person. And yet here I was.” Insensitive comments from friends make it worse. She fears judgment when, after much research and agony, she aborts a baby with Down syndrome. For all her heart-wrenching experiences, Steinberg never loses sight of her privilege, and presents community as an antidote to silence and grief (eventually giving birth to healthy twins helps, too). Christache’s sprightly illustrations enliven the technical medical details with chatty sperm and eggs. Steinberg’s solo-mother-by-choice perspective and accessible, well-paced graphic storytelling brings a fresh angle to the pregnancy memoir canon. [em](Mar.) [/em]